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New AFRL Materials and Manufacturing director is a familiar face

Mr. Timothy J. Sakulich

Mr. Timothy J. Sakulich

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – There is a new leader at the helm of the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, but he’s certainly no stranger. 

Tim Sakulich was appointed to Senior Executive Service and installed as the director of the organization Oct. 1. A familiar face to many in the directorate, Sakulich previously served as both the deputy director and the director over a decade prior, while a colonel in the Air Force. 

Sakulich brings with him a wealth of Air Force knowledge and experience. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, he went on to serve a 26-year career in the Air Force before taking on a number of civilian AFRL leadership positions.

Sakulich comes to the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate from the 711th Human Performance Wing, where he served as the vice director since June 2012. During that time, he also briefly stepped up to fill in as the acting director of the AFRL Information Directorate.

As the first civilian vice director of the 711th Human Performance Wing, Sakulich helped lead the 2,000+ strong, geographically-separated organization comprising the Airman Systems Directorate, the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, and the Human Performance Integration Directorate. Through his leadership, he helped shape the diverse, multi-disciplined organization into the strong entity it is today. 

In the appointment ceremony, presiding officer and AFRL Commander Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley called himself a “big fan” of Sakulich, saying, “He brings the energy and optimism and…people skills and a genuine desire to do good things for our Air Force that is hard to match.”

Sakulich expressed enthusiasm at returning to the familiar organization where he spent the early years of his AFRL journey. “It’s an exciting thing to join this amazing leadership team.”

Recalling the first time he was tapped to lead the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Sakulich credited former director Dr. Charles Browning and former associate director Gary Waggoner for guiding him in the role, saying, “It was from their mentorship that I learned…to appreciate the awesome responsibility entrusted to the men and women at this laboratory who are underwriting the Air Force’s future every day. And they do it selflessly.” 

Sakulich rejoins the directorate with fondness for the past and an eye toward the future.

“This directorate and its predecessor organizations have been pivotal to realizing American airpower for more than 100 years,” he told the audience at the ceremony. “And we have 100 years ahead of us and more to meet the new challenges.”

Extoling his new organization’s innovation, teamwork, and agility, Sakulich left the crowd with a message of personal excitement for the journey ahead.

“I am incredibly eager to get started, and thrilled to be rejoining the Materials and Manufacturing directorate today.”